Thank goodness we are through with Iowa and New Hampshire. No need for another four years to pay attention to the strange caucus process or to try to figure out a state where 40 percent of the voters are unaffiliated with Democrats or Republicans.
The Republicans in New Hampshire
Donald Trump was clearly more in his element in New Hampshire, and the polls, unlike those in Iowa, tracked his victory pretty well. The real fun of the evening, however, was to watch who finished second, third, fourth and fifth.
John Kasich’s relatively strong second place finish allows him to move into the temporary lead in the Republican establishment lane. His problem, though, is that neither the South Carolina nor the upcoming southern primaries on March 1st offer him much hope. He is also struggling to raise money. If he can somehow hang on through the wave of sixteen states in the first week of March he should be able to do well in Michigan and in his own winner-take-all state of Ohio.
Ted Cruz was just treading water in New Hampshire so third place is not so bad for him. He will now press hard in South Carolina and other states in the region, where evangelical voters play a strong role in the primaries. Cruz has enough money to compete and a superior ground game.
Jeb! Bush continues to hold on, thinking that the support of his family, particularly brother George, will help in South Carolina. When George W. is called in for help you know things are not trending in the right direction. The Bush family continues to support “no child left behind.”
Marco Rubio’s game plan was referred to as the “3-2-1 strategy”, meaning he was looking to finish a strong third in Iowa (check); second in New Hampshire (oops!); and first in South Carolina (looking doubtful). So Marco, repeat after me: must do better, must do better, must do better.
Chris Christie is out after his kamikaze attack on Rubio last Saturday, and so is Carly Fiorina. Whatever Ben Carson is trying to prove is beyond me.
The Reps hold their South Carolina primary on February 20th and their Nevada caucuses on February 23rd – different dates from the Dems’ elections. I thought New York State had cornered the market on holding too many elections this year (the presidential primary on April 19; the federal congressional primary on June 28; the state and local primaries on September 13; the general election on November 8), but I guess other states are similarly election-happy.
The next Republican debate is on Saturday.
Yesterday’s results provided a great boost for Bernie Sanders, giving him momentum going into Nevada. He benefited from the strong support of independents, young voters, a majority of both men and women and those who think that honesty is important.
Hillary Clinton’s 22 point defeat is a disaster. Her messaging is all jumbled. Her unforced errors on the State Department emails and her paid speeches for the Wall Street crowd show incredibly bad judgment.
That all said, Clinton has to hope that as the campaign moves to the south, mid-west and west, to a part of the country where the demographics and her campaign organization are better prepared than Sanders’, she will be able to regain some momentum. The voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have sent her a strong message, explained well by this Politico quote from a New Hampshire voter: “She will have a better chance in November, frankly, but I decided to vote for who I wanted rather than worry about November.”
Nevada Dems caucus on February 20th and the South Carolina Dems have their primary on February 27th. The next Democratic debate is Thursday.
This is going to be a long slog.
South Carolina – Politics and Other Stuff road trip!
New Hampshire punched five Republican tickets for South Carolina (Trump, Cruz, Kasich, Bush and Rubio). The premier political event for the remainder of February will be that state’s Republican primary, which has the possibility of narrowing the field to just Trump, Cruz and who?
Politics and Other Stuff is going on the road next week to spend a few days observing the goings-on in South Carolina. My daughter Gen is a graduate student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. So what a perfect time to visit with her and find some interesting stuff to do while she is occupied with her internship and class schedules.
I am going to take it all in, to see what it is like to be in the middle of a real knockdown, drag out political fight on a presidential level. I worked on a couple presidential campaigns but the activities this year are a unique political event. So for a few days I will be storm-chasing, which Wikipedia defines as:
the pursuit of any severe … condition, regardless of motive, which can be curiosity, adventure, scientific investigation, or for news or media coverage.
Storm chasing is chiefly a recreational endeavor, with motives usually given toward photographing or videoing the storm and for multivariate personal reasons. These can include … the mystery of not knowing precisely what will unfold and the quest to undetermined destination on the open road, intangible experiences such as … the challenge of correctly forecasting and intercepting storms with the optimal vantage points, and pure thrill seeking.
On to South Carolina!